Harvard Brigham
Vollmer Laboratory of Nanophotonics and Biosensing

We are continuously looking for talented and highly motiviated graduate students. We also have short-term projects for internships and for undergraduate students. Please contact Dr. Frank Vollmer for inquiries.

Positions are available in the areas listed on our research page, as well as:


We use easy-to- fabricate, micron-size glass beads (microspheres) as highly sensitive optical biosensors. The microsphere sensors constitute optical resonators which allow for detection of minute changes in their respective optical resonance frequencies. Such frequency changes report on molecular binding events such as the binding of an antigen to a previously immobilized antibody. We use our biosensing technology to understand mechanisms of molecular recognition, conformational changes, affinity and avidity, protein and virus interactions, as well as protein denaturation and renaturation. We integrate our microsphere sensors with microfluidics and optical microscopy to achieve a) high-throughput detection and b) high sensitivity in many biological applications. We are particularly interested in developing biosensing assays for clinically relevant biomarkers as well as for single cell analysis. Required background in this area: bioengineering (for example biosensing, optical biosensor development, surface chemistry, basic cell biology and molecular biology) or chemical engineering (microfluidics, analytical chemistry, bioconjugation, optofluidics) or materials science (photonic plasmonic nanoparticles, micro- nanofabrication) or physics (optical sensor development, biophysics).